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First Nations Australia

Working alongside Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in support of their aspirations to live and thrive on Country
Read our RAP

EWB Australia recognises and acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first engineers and scientists of this nation, caring for Country sustainably for over 65,000 years.​

Despite being one of the world’s oldest civilisations with a rich and proud history and culture, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people remain some of the most disadvantaged. Since Australia was colonised by European settlers, Australia’s First Nations people face discrimination, inequality, mistreatment and cultural disconnection – many Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience a poor quality of life and restrictions to self-determination.

years gap in the average life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women compared to non-Indigenous women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households live in a dwelling with at least one major structural problem

times higher rate of unemployment of Indigenous people compared to non-Indigenous people

times more likely for Indigenous Australians to have severe or profound disability than non-Indigenous Australians 

* Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ABS Census 2016, Australian Law Reform Commission.

Our Work

Our Engineering on Country (EoC) program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to pursue their aspirations to live and thrive on Country. Since 2009, EWB has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across
Australia on a range of community-identified projects. These have mostly taken place through long-term partnerships developed directly with communities and through pro bono support from our corporate partners.

EWB works with communities to design a provide access to appropriate and sustainable community infrastructure, which can include water & sanitation facilities, energy systems, housing, and other technology and services that improve people’s quality of life and ability to pursue education, employment or income generating opportunities. We also work with communities to help design solutions that enable cultural connection.

Our Pathways Outreach program engages volunteers who are trained to deliver Introduction to engineering modules in primary schools, high schools and community centres in cities and in regional areas across Australia, through our chapter network and our industry partners. These programs aim to inspire youth to pursue a career in engineering and STEM, with a particular focus on engaging and increasing the participation of First Nations young people and others who are less represented in the engineering sector, such as women and girls.

Our Impact

To date, EWB Australia has supported more than 15 projects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Explore some of our project case studies.

Our Partners

We currently work with the below partners to create positive social change for Australia’s Indigenous people.

ILSC logo
Metio logo
RAWA logo

Woolkabunning Kiaka Aboriginal Corporation


Reconciliation Action Plan


Over the past few years, EWB Australia has been developing deeper connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, and the Country they call home.

This is a great privilege. It provides an opportunity for our staff, our partners and our volunteers to listen and build our understanding of what has gone before, and what is needed now, and into the future. We have learnt so much, and we continue to listen and learn more.

Our Innovate RAP builds on this, bringing conscious reconciliation in all actions and across every part of EWB.

Stories of Indigenous Engineering Series

Inspiring the next generation of First Nations children to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

From authors to archeologists, civil to environmental engineers, students to academics – hear the stories of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander professionals who work or intersect with the engineering sector, in our Stories of Indigenous Enigneering series.


We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

Stories of First Nations collaboration

Announcing our 2024 EWB Challenge community partner – Torres Strait Island Regional Council 30 January, 2024 - Each year, over 10,000 first-year university students across Australia and New Zealand participate in the EWB Challenge. Students work in teams to develop a solution to challenges identified by EWB… read more
‘Impactful Futures’ Immersives return on Lama Lama Country 19 September, 2023 - ‘Look, listen, learn’ was the mantra of Traditional Owners on Lama Lama Country during EWB’s Impactful Futures Immersive in July, which took participants on a journey through the tropical landscapes… read more
Inaugural Indigenous-led Youth Outreach program kicks off in Far North Queensland 30 August, 2023 - A new place-based Outreach program - designed by Indigenous people for Indigenous young people - was recently piloted in a small community in Far North Queensland in collaboration with Engineers… read more